Big names take part in Aus Open Over-60’s draw

by Val Febbo

Some big names are set to take part in Over-60s Pairs discipline when it commences at the Australian Open tomorrow.

Former South African and Australian cricketer Kepler Wessels is one of the headlines in the men’s draw, teaming up with fellow Queenslander Paul Davis in their opening section in Robina.

Wessels played 40 test matches and 109 One Day Internationals, amassing seven international centuries and 41 half-centuries across his decorated career.

He and Davis will be pitted against the New South Wales team of John Davidson and Christopher Smith, Queenslanders Allan Law and Gary Andrews and the Tasmania/Queensland pairing of Steve Graf and Ray Gnjidic.

Defending champions in Max Jaffray and Neville Jenkins are back as they strive for a second crown, and in their group is the South Australian team of Andrew Barratt and Paul Zarella, Victoria’s Lee Bastin and Rod Phillips as well as John Desmet and Shane Quinlivan from New South Wales.

Former Collingwood player John Greening will also feature in the draw with teammate Ingo Model from New South Wales.

Their section pits them against the Queensland Victorian combination of Mark Winter and Geoff Crawford, the New South Wales pair of Mark Rayner and Neil Dell and finally Ian Jacobs and James Thomas.

Greening played 107 games for the Magpies from 1968-76 and kicked 70 goals which included a career best seven in one game against Carlton in 1969.

He would feature in the 1970 Grand Final that lost to the Blues by 10 points and his career would be cut short following a concussion injury.

Bowls Australia (BA) President Bob Boorman and World Bowls President Darryl Clout will form a team in the event, taking to the greens of Musgrave Hill as they embark on their Australian Open journey.

In the women’s draw, defending champions in Maree Gibbs and Sue Brady will tale to the greens in hope to achieve back-to-back crowns, commencing on Tuesday.

The Queensland duo will have two opposition pairs from the same state, in the form of Carol Fair and Brenda Thompson, along with Karen Goldsworthy and Jane Bush as well as the Tasmanian team of Yvonne and Peri Buckley.

The matchup against Bush is an intriguing one, as Gibbs and Brady defeated the Queenslander and her partner Jude Whaites in the final of last year’s event.

2021 semi-finalists in Linda Mitchell and Christine Russell will feature in section one as they look to advance beyond their efforts last year, as will Terese McAlary and Faye Clarke who also reached the final four.

South Australian Yvonne Bekeris will also be in the draw with teammate Deirdre Hall.

Bekeris progressed to the round of 32 in this year’s women’s singles event before being defeated by Faye Woodward.